Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Theater of the Oppressed, Digital Games, and more!

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I just had two crazy thoughts.

First, can we design online activities that take Theater of the Oppressed online in the same way Liberating Structures have been done online by @NancyWhite?

If you don’t know these, my basic knowledge of Theater of the Oppressed is it’s a theatrical (possibly pedagogical) approach that uses role play or theater as a mode of inquiry/exploration of oppression, social justice issues, etc., but the most defining feature I thought was audience participation (spect-actors)… so that not only actors on stage have agency, but audience as well can go up and participate. Last week, I discovered we have a faculty member who trained with the person who originated this, Augusto Boal from Brazil. She told me there were various formats and I found this awesome summary document open access:

Midha, Gopal, “Theatre of the Oppressed A Manual for Educators” (2010). Master’s Capstone Projects. 11.
Retrieved from https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cie_capstones/11

Will still go through it.

But for now, several thoughts are in my mind and I had to blog.

For my class, I want to try this in my class and I wonder if there are similarities between the spect-actors in this theater and the choose-your-own-pathway games which are really stories where players have agency. So the players are also spect-actors. I wonder how much I can use this to help students think more deeply about what they’re doing in various Parts of the course. I already do some role play but students always seem hungry for more. And this would be more thoughtful than most of what I do.

But going back to my opening point, this one is even crazier. I wonder if we can do an online version of Theater of the Oppressed and use it in Equity Unbound!!

Whatcha think? If you’re into critical pedagogy or role play or anything relevant to here, would love your take on this!

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